The remote workforce was one of the saving graces in 2020. Industries of all breadths were able to transition their employees to working from home, allowing people to continue on with their careers without putting their health at risk. However, physical health isn’t the only concern worth keeping in mind right now. There’s also the matter of avoiding remote work burnout.
If you’ve gone ungrazed by burnout (lucky you), let me fill you in: burnout is a state of extreme career or work-related stress that can not only make it difficult to do your job well but can bleed into other aspects of your life.
Note From Kayla: This blog post on remote work burnout was written by Amy Collett. Guest posts on Writing From Nowhere help offer a well-rounded perspective. If you’d like to write something, float your ideas on over here!
Although some people are less susceptible to burnout when working from home, it’s not the ideal work environment for everyone. And that, combined with the general stress of living in *unprecedented* times, means that the odds of experiencing remote work burnout are higher than you might expect.
In some cases, burnout is a sign you’re in the wrong job, but often it’s just a side effect of not taking enough time for yourself. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to avoid remote work burnout.
4 Tips For Minimizing Remote Work Burnout
1. Create Physical Barriers Between Work and Life
We all know the importance of a healthy work-life balance, but how many of us neglected this aspect of emotional health even before the pandemic?
If you’re now working from home, odds are keeping these two aspects of your life separate is harder than ever – after all, it’s all happening under one roof now.
That’s why it’s so important to create some kind of physical barrier letting your mind know you’re on (and off) the clock.
The most straightforward way to do this is to set up a home office, ideally with a door. However, that’s not always possible.
If you don’t have a spare room to dedicate to your workday, consider setting up some sort of workstation that can be hidden or put away after you’re done for the day. For example, you can look into using a foldaway desk, or even setting up an office in a closet.
Once you have your new workspace set up, consider doing something to cleanse your space of stressful energy. If you’ve been working just around the house – or worse, in bed – since the start of the pandemic, you’ve almost certainly built up some anxiety-ridden associations with your home.
Lighting a candle, rearranging furniture, or putting up some fresh new wall art can give your space an emotional facelift.
2. Give Yourself Quality Downtime After Working Hours
Simply having time away from work isn’t the only step you need to take to have a true balance between your personal and professional lives.
It’s also important to make sure the way you spend that downtime enriches your personal self the same way your workday enriches your professional self.
Pay close attention to how you’re spending your time off, and whether or not it helps you feel rested and rejuvenated.
For example, many people have a habit of spending much of their free time browsing social media. Although this can feel like a harmless diversion, social media usage is actually linked to increased anxiety and feelings of isolation.
If this is a downtime go-to for you, ask yourself, “Does this make me feel good? Does it leave me feeling rested?” If not, consider setting time limits and making sure you do something truly rejuvenating with your free time instead.
Recharge activities look different for everyone. Yours could be anything from painting to playing music to reading to going for a run. The details of how you recharge are less important than that you do recharge.
Rest is an essential step on the path to success, regardless of your job.
3. Focus On General Self-Care
Finally, one of the best ways you can prevent mental health issues including remote work burnout is to focus on fostering self-care in your day-to-day life. When most of us hear self-care, we picture bath bombs and facemasks.
Although those are perfectly valid forms of self-care, that’s not really what we’re talking about here. Mental health is impacted by your physical health; as such, basic self-care, such as moving your body daily and eating foods that nourish your body, are worth prioritizing.
Focus on self-care methods you can easily turn into a daily habit. For example, making sure you eat a well-balanced breakfast each morning in order to give yourself a good start, or taking a brisk walk after lunch to clear your mind.
The best healthy choices are achievable and sustainable, so choose something you can easily fit into your schedule and lifestyle.
4. Stay Communicative To Reduce Feelings Of Remote Work Burnout
Finally, if you’re starting to experience remote work burnout – or think you have been for a while – you should consider speaking up to your supervisors and letting them know.
They may be able to help you rearrange your schedule, lighten your workload, or find another approach that helps you to cope better.
Remember, you’re not alone in this, and your company has a vested interest in making sure you’re able to manage effectively.
Remote Work Burnout Final Thoughts
In the coming months, life will slowly begin to return to normal. But if you haven’t managed to find balance and manage your feelings of remote work burnout, your struggles won’t necessarily evaporate.
Take good care of yourself, honor your need for rest and foster an open line of communication – especially when you feel yourself struggling. .
Note From Kayla: This is the advice I wish someone had shared with me at the beginning of my remote work journey. What helped you manage remote work burnout during the pandemic? Hone these burnout management skills now so that you can manage stress better long-term in your remote work journey.